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07.25.12

Microsoft Dictatorship Divides and Conquers Linux With Novell, Red Hat, and Ubuntu

Posted in Microsoft, Novell, Red Hat, Ubuntu at 1:43 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Road divided

Summary: How and why Microsoft has turned to increased disruption of the competition rather than any technical merit

MICROSOFT recently announced a loss [1, 2, 3], even though there was spin from Microsoft (trying to claim record profit while in fact reporting a loss). Katherine Noyes calls it “Microsoft’s bad quarter” as though it’s the exception; in reality, after pressure from the SEC [1, 2] Microsoft was probably just forced to tell the public some truth, not hiding the sources of losses. Noyes quotes a lawyer: ‘”A near monopoly is like a dictator,” said Roberto Lim, a lawyer and blogger on Mobile Raptor. “Even a benign dictator runs the risk of failing to respond to the needs of the people, and how many people would called Microsoft benign? “What Microsoft forgot is that sooner or later, the masses do rebel.”‘ Just like in most empires, Microsoft relies on occupied countries mobilising their own people for the benefit of the dictator (e.g. the Germans using the Poles for production, the British using India for spice, Rome using warriors/police abroad). Right now we see Microsoft doing this inside the Linux and FOSS world, fracturing it.

Microsoft recently resorted to anti-competitive methods (e.g. UEFI), motivating this reminder that merely because Canonical and Red Hat found some way to play with Microsoft (just as Novell had done in 2006) doesn’t mean we’re safe:

“First they came for Gentoo.

And I did not speak up because I don’t use Gentoo.

Then they came for Arch Linux

and I said nothing because I don’t use Arch Linux.

And on it goes. Divisive and exclusionary arrangements for UEFI are not solutions, they are impediments. The point is, Microsoft is trying a divide-and-conquer approach and we must resist it. Using the Novell tie Microsoft continues to pollute Linux, the kernel, with proprietary addons and obscenities [1, 2]. Microsoft is rightly shamed for it in news sites and IDG spins it as an apology:

We hate the term “brogrammer,” and so should you. However, a recent gaffe by some Microsoft coder somewhere gives a bit more evidence to the idea that a wee bit of immaturity might be lurking in the company’s coding rank and file.

According to a message posted by Paolo Bonzini to the (unofficial) Linux Kernel Mailing List, a small snippet of code found in Microsoft’s Hyper-V – a virtualization server – was used every time a user loaded Linux within the virtual environment.

The joke? The code itself, written in hexadecimal, was the string, “0xB16B00B5.” Get it? “Big Boobs.”

“At the most basic level it’s just straightforward childish humour, and the use of vaguely-English strings in magic hex constants is hardly uncommon. But it’s also specifically male childish humour. Puerile sniggering at breasts contributes to the continuing impression that software development is a boys club where girls aren’t welcome. It’s especially irritating in this case because Azure may depend on this constant, so changing it will break things,” wrote Linux developer and Red Hat employee Dr. Matthew Garrett in a blog post.

Microsoft was not even original, based on this writeup:

While the prank is certainly very funny, it is not original. 0xB16B00B5 is a common L337 expression, or ‘Hexpression’, in the technical community. It is also noted on Wikipedia‘s wiki entry as a “Notable Magic Number”, required of Linux guests running in Microsoft’s Hyper-V Hypervisor Virtualizer. That said, the discovery of these Big Boobs should not come as a surprise as it has been hiding in plain sight, awaiting public scrutiny since 2011.

For all we know, they did not sack the person who did this. At Microsoft, sexism is fine [1, 2, 3, 4], suggest past stories.

If it wasn’t for Novell, Microsoft would not have had access to Linux source code in the first place. Microsoft wants this whole affair to be marketed as “peace”; to those who are realists, “peace” with a sociopath is merely seen as a trap.

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